do not merely live life to survive …

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style,” Maya Angelou

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Teachable Spirit

‘Seek My face with a teachable spirit. Come into My presence with thanksgiving, desiring to be transformed’—Jesus Calling. Sarah Young mentions further, “I want you to be all Mine … I gave everything for you … hold back nothing from Me.”   Book Cover Template Life is Good v2

I wonder just how much I hold back. He desires all of me, but oftentimes I cling to my rights, my will, my desires. Do you find yourself doing the same? When I hold back little things such as choices and priorities, I lose on a much larger scale. Reminds me of a favorite quote of mine, Let go and let God.

Now that my first book is FINALLY out there, can I ease up? I’m told no by the experts. Even though the work was long and sometimes difficult, my journey (or at least the next chapter) has just begun. Now comes the marketing and promotional end of publishing: book signings, talks, interviews (check out interview with Jan Holst from MLive) , social media posts, etc.,

I am so very thankful for all my angel helpers along the way, but I still cannot do this alone. Engaging others will serve to further a mission and purpose for writing my grace story. So I now seek His face with a teachable spirit. Not a spirit of knowing-it-all or pretending to have my life all together. Such is the contrary! I need my Heavenly Father and a team EVEN MORE NOW. Transform me into a useful vessel. Useful for Your service, Your plan, and purpose. Keep me grounded in Scripture by sharing my grace story and showing others that Life is truly Good, Fragile, and Precious!     

  • What ways can you exhibit a teachable spirit?
  • Is there some area of your life you are holding back from God? If so, name it.
  • Can you place three items on your thankful list today?

*****

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Birthing a “baby”

I’ve heard it said that writing and releasing a book is somewhat akin to birthing a baby. Now that I’m on the other side of that equation, I agree.   Book Cover Template Life is Good v2

Life is: Good, Fragile, Precious just released to the public this week, and I find myself with mixed emotions. Mostly joy and elation, but there’s also that tinge of fear and anxiety. What if my readers do not like it? What if they don’t understand what lies between the pages? Worse yet, what if no one reads the words?

No, I cannot allow the enemy’s words to ring louder than my Father’s gentle nudging. I remind myself that I was ready to give up on this project years ago, but then … He came through. Again.

I set out a type of fleece with one last effort to attract a publisher’s attention. It was at a writer’s conference in Muskegon I’d attended for years. This year they sponsored a contest. I’m a sucker for contests and freebies. Okay, God, I will do the work, but if nothing comes from this last effort, I’m finished!  I decided, what did I have to lose? I put together a painstakedly created book proposal along with the first three chapters of Life is: Good, Fragile, Precious (only that wasn’t the title I used then). You can imagine my ecstatic joy and surprise when my name was announced as a winner at the tail end of the conference.

I cannot give up now. Too much prayer, toil, and time has gone into the making of this piece of hope. My grace story from the viewpoint of a brain surgery survivor needs to be told. I hope you chose to read my story of seeking balance in this crazy-mixed up world. Thank you, God, and my loyal supporters for not giving up on me.

p.s. my book can be found on Amazon.com. My first book signing will be on Saturday, June 4 at Rockford City Hall parking lot, 10- 1:00 p.m. Love to see you there in person!

*****

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Constant Companions

Regret. Anger, Sorrow.
Bedfellows I do not choose
Yet they come upon me like
Constant Companions
Hiding for a season, then
Popping their ugly heads up again
When I least expect their arrival

Will I choose Life, Calm, Joy?
As I continue my journey and
Theirs comes to an end
Or, will I ignore, pretend
I am okay—hoping
Regret. Anger, Sorrow
Ride away on the next wave?
Not to surface for another season

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Homeward Bound

Teresa-Karen cross country trekBaldwin sisters on their trek home. Karen and I nicknamed ourselves the Baldwin sisters–remember The Waltons television show?

Our trip proved a mix of enlightenment, frustration, joy, anger, sadness, sympathy, and loss. We found our dad—at least a shell of who he used to be. His body and mind fails more often than not.

My mind longs to forget the now and return to the then. I choose to remember his quick wit, willingness to help others, when his body moved freely and without constant pain, his insatiable quest for best bargains and love for food.

Dad, we love you and hope and pray only the best for you.

*****

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Master Sculptor

A little boy watched a sculptor begin chiseling a large block of marble. The sculptor worked meticulously until the slab looked like the face of Abraham Lincoln. “How did you do that?” the little boy asked. The sculptor said with a smile, “All I have to do is chip away everything that doesn’t look like Lincoln.”

Writing is a bit like sculpting. I chisel a little bit here; chip away some more over there. The hope being that the written message originally intended is left behind.

As I nurture my “sculpture,” one of the key ingredients being is how to seek and achieve balance in a too-crazy-busy life. So many people and things cry out for our attention these days. Where do you turn? And when do you cry out for help? You’ve probably heard, “Love your neighbor as yourself” before. But have you considered first loving yourself properly in order to love others in your life? My hope is that through my perspective of a brain surgery survivor you, too, will regain control of your mind, body, and soul. One clue is to practice the art of being still.

For now, back to my edits to make my sculpture (i.e. book) excellent and appealing to you the reader! More tips to follow.

*****

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Publishing and Waiting …

Even though circumstances do not seem to be going right, fair—always remember God still steers the boat. Relationships fail, money’s tight, child spills his milk, toilet overflows, ideal college seems elusive, death separates, divorce/abuse divides—though your dream lingers, “wait for it, it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Spring is springing-daffodils pop thru green grass

Why does publishing a book take so long, be painful, cost more in time and money than planned? This is not entirely the path I’d envisioned. There is a reason for all of this. You knew from Day #1. Maybe someday I will discover and be enlightened, but for now my duty is to abide. I see a smidgeon of light. Just like the snow’s melted around my daffodils. Brain tumor surgery allowed, growth, personal closeness gained. Book to be born! “Wait for it, though it tarries, wait for it.” (Habakkuk 2:3)

I hear Your message! Continue to do the work of proofing, editing, and all those required details. Whatever you may be waiting or longing for, know the end result will be worth it all. Trust and obey for there is no other way. Wait and do the appointed work … in His abiding, limitless strength.

*****

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Happy St. Paddy’s Birthday to my Daughter!

Who knew that over 30 years ago my husband and I would be blessed with such joy? Joy came in the form of the birth of our first (and only) daughter, Amanda Sue. Until the birth of a child infuses your life, words fail to convey the awesomeness of such an event.   Amanda Birthday Collage 2

Children do not come with an instruction manual. There are no warning labels attached to those tiny, perfectly formed fingers and toes. When their first breath or cry comes forth, your breath and heart pauses. What does come is an overflowing joy, awe, and fear of messing up this parenting role.

As a second-time mom (the first, our son, appeared on the scene just 13 months earlier), I knew the basics. I understood the initial pain in childbirth, the post-partum depression, sleepless nights, endless feedings and change of diapers. Yet all those potentially negative aspects paled in comparison with the ultimate joy of bringing forth a living, breathing, precious human being.

All that to say, Steve and I are eternally grateful to the Giver of Life and Light. He blessed us then and continues to bless us as we watch our grown up daughter. Amanda, your sparkling, beautiful eyes, boundless joy and energy continue to ignite all those around you. God blessed you with intelligence, ingenuity, love and concern for people and animals. I cannot imagine life without you and the special spot you hold within my heart. Love you to the moon and back again, hugs and love from Mom and Dad.  Happy Birthday!!!  

 *****

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Galley proofs in!

“Though is tarries, wait for it.” (Habakkuk 2:3)

A few days ago, I received my first galley proofs of my book and cover. Lauren, Publishing Services Associate, exclaimed “Congratulations!” True, I am very excited to be moved to the next phase. Yet, I do not want to miss any of the good parts in between. There is still much work to be done. Rushing not allowed here if I am to take Habakkuk 2:3 to heart.   Daffodils popping through snow

I do and do and do. Sometimes before I give proper credit to timing and waiting. When I go forth in my own strength and just do on my own, I miss much. I miss God’s guidance, wisdom, and blessings in the end. I think I am doing the right thing by instigating hurried results, but am I really? God seems to be more visionary than practical like us mere mortal humans. Impatient. I am extremely impatient; thereby potentially missing out on His best. Missing “the fulfillment of the vision;” I wonder what that vision would have looked like had I taken the time and exercised patience during the wait mode? God must be disappointed when I do not implement enough faith to wait for Him to work out His best plan.

“We cannot bring the vision to fulfillment through our own efforts, but must live under its inspiration until it fulfills itself. We try to be so practical that we forget the vision. At the very beginning we saw the vision but did not wait for it.

We rushed off to do our practical work, and once the vision was fulfilled we could no longer even see it. Waiting for a vision that “tarries” is the true test of our faithfulness to God. It is at the risk of our own soul’s welfare that we get caught up in practical busy-work, only to miss the fulfillment of the vision,” thoughts from Oswald Chambers.

  • How about you; is it difficult for you to wait?
  • What are you waiting on now?
  • What plan could you devise to wait patiently?
*****
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Spring Release!

This brain tumor survivor is announcing that my book is now in the Design/Production phase. Looking forward to a Spring Release. I’ll be sharing glimpses of my personal journal entries interwoven in this frightening health crisis. You will learn of the need to regain control over three areas of life: mind, body, and soul. Then, and only then, can we experience joy and peace while learning to be still.           Green shoots - signs of Spring (Copy)

I will keep you posted regarding progress. Thanking God and all my angel-helpers along the way who contribute to make this dream a reality. Totally excited to have you follow and come along with me in the birth of a new “baby!”

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